Pints of the Past: The Evolution of SAMRU’s Campus Bars and Pubs

Ever wondered what came before West Gate Social (WGS)? Some of you may remember The Hub, which was WGS’s predecessor, but did you know that there were three more bars operated by the Students’ Association on the Lincoln Park campus, dating back to 1972? Keep reading to learn the history of the campus bars and pubs!

Timeline of MRU’s (SAMRU-operated) campus bars/pubs

1972 – The Rathskellar

We begin our journey in the year of 1972, when the Lincoln Park campus was completed. Prior to building the Lincoln Park campus, Mount Royal College was located in downtown Calgary (to read more on the history of Mount Royal College, check out 

The Rathskellar was the first bar operated by the Students’ Association of Mount Royal College (SAMRC). It was located where Tim Hortons is now on main street, and its menu featured hamburgers, salads, meat pies, chips, and assorted pastries (and liquor, of course). It was also open for only four hours a day!

Janet Brown, MRC photographer (from MRU Library Archives)

1987 – Thirsty’s Pub

When Wyckham House opened in 1987, Thirsty’s Pub was born and moved into the space where WGS is now. The space had not been expanded or renovated yet, but fun fact, Thirsty’s had carpet at one point. At another point, according to an article in The Reflector from 1999, people also frequently put out their cigarettes and spat on the floor.

Thirsty’s got its name through a contest where students could submit their name ideas to win a semester of free tuition.

Oct 7 1987 – The Reflector

Thirsty’s slogan was “Any night is a good night to relax in Thirsty’s”. With the pub closing at 2 or 3 in the morning, students definitely had plenty of time to relax! Thirsty’s had pool tables, dart boards, theme nights, and live performances. It was also the first of the campus bars to be featured on the website when came into existence in 1998. 1998

1999 – Liberty Lounge

The Liberty Lounge, also known as The “Lib”, opened in September 1999 as a newly renovated space (bye bye, carpet and sticky floors!). There were foosball and pool tables, big screen TVs, video games, live performances, theme nights (including a Guitar Hero night at one point), and a wide selection of “icy cold draught taps”. At one point, it was nominated for “Venue of The Year” at the Western Canada Music Awards. 

The Liberty Lounge’s slogan was: “Visit Often, Drink Sociably, Pay Honourably, Leave Quietly.” Although, it seems nothing about the space was quiet – live performances took place regularly, almost every night! The Liberty Lounge was also the last place in Wyckham House to be an indoor smoking area, up until around 2007.

2011 – The Hub

The Hub opened its doors on September 13th, 2011 as a newly renovated space, with the most noteworthy changes being a completely updated and expanded layout. Washrooms were also added within the bar itself (prior to this, students had to use the washrooms in the Wyckham House Food Court). The Hub was also the first out of all the bars on campus to have a full food menu, complete with starters, mains, and desserts.

2019 – West Gate Social

In 2019, West Gate Social came to life to #LiftYourSpirits! The space was updated with an entirely new brand identity, more power outlets (so you can get your essay done while enjoying mac and cheese bites), and butterfly art on the back wall (which is a great spot to pose for a photo)! Because the space is student-focused, we’re able to offer our members – and their guests – low prices while maintaining exceptional value. 

West Gate Social has since been the location of many fun events, such as Gender Bender (which is coming up this year on March 23rd!), Live Music Thursdays, and themed weekly programming!

Thanks for joining us on this trip down memory lane, and hope to see you in West Gate Social! If you would like to share any compliments, concerns, or other feedback about WGS with us, email